Allied Charities of Minnesota

News

  • 07 Apr 2015 16:27 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    ACM Legislative Update on ACM Gaming bills that would impact licensed charities

    Policy Bill SF229/HF374:  ACM policy bill authored by Representatives Sanders, Anzelc, Bernardy, Daudt, Davids, Halvorson, Hoppe, Lillie, Newton, Poppe and Senators Koenen, Chamberlain, Rest, Skoe, Torres Ray.  This is the bill that was passed overwhelmingly by both bodies, but vetoed by the Governor in 2014.  The bill is on the floor in both bodies.  Our expectation is that the bill will again be passed by large margins in both bodies.  Our hope is that the Governor will let this bill become law, with or without his signature.

    Policy Bill SF1786/HF1519:  ACM policy bill authored by Representatives Swedzinski, Anzelc, Atkins, Christensen, Hoppe, Lillie, Sanders and Senators Eaton, Eken, Petersen B. Bill is on the floor in the House.  Bill is headed to the Senate Finance committee due to the bill being amended in the Senate State and Local Government committee.  Modifications were made to the bill that were agreed to by ACM from both the GCB and the League of Cities.  This bill would allow an interim gambling manager for up to 120 days at a second licensed organization.  Waiting time for being a GM to be a member is reduced from six months to 90 days.  Allows for a random number generator to be used instead of a manual selection process of winning tickets if approved by the GCB.  Raises bingo prize limits from $200 to $500 for single games, $1000 to $2000 for cover all games for the session and for the session from $2800 to $5000 without a coverall, $3800 to $7000 with a coverall.  Cities that take 10% of the net would be required to acknowledge publicly where the money comes from.   

    Tax Bill SF1227/HF1176:  ACM Tax relief authored by Representatives Hoppe, Atkins, Davids, Dettmer, Hoppe, Lucero, Poppe and Senators Skoe, Gazelka, Metzen, Senjem, Stumpf.  The bill was heard in the House tax committee for possible inclusion in the House Omnibus tax bill, which is the best outcome that we could have at this point.  The companion bill is in the Senate Tax committee and will hopefully be heard in the next few weeks, with the expectation of the same result as in the House.  The bill reduces state taxes by 30%.  First $50,000 each fiscal year of gross net receipts (sales minus prizes) would be exempt from state tax.  Raises the combined receipt triggers from their current rates to $100,000, $200,000 and $300,000.  Changes electronic linked bingo from the combined receipt tax to the fixed rate tax of 8.5%, the same as paper bingo.  An annual outside audit would be required for organizations that have $750,000 in gross net receipts (sales minus prizes) in a given year.  If approved as written, this bill would save charities $14 million dollars annually in state tax. 

    Tax Bill SF963/HF1185:  Tax relief authored by Representatives Atkins, Newton, Lillie and Senator Metzen.  The bill cuts existing combined receipt rates in half.  This was not an ACM initiated bill, but is very much welcomed into the mix.  Heard for possible inclusion in the Omnibus House tax bill by the House tax committee, which is the best outcome that we could have at this point.  In the Senate the bill is still in the State and Local Government committee.  No deadline for tax bills.  A combination of this bill and SF1227/HF1176 is a possibility. 

    You contacting your elected representatives is imperative in getting these bills passed.  The local perspective from licensed organizations along with the recipients of those mission dollars increases the chances of these bills passing. 

    Please keep making the contacts, it does make a difference.  ACM is working at the capitol to show each and every elected official what you do in their districts and how you each make a difference.  You adding context to the work ACM does at the capitol is making an impact with the elected officials.  Please keep up the great work. 

    Please visit the new ACM website @ www.alliedcharitiesofminnesota.wildapricot.org for copies of the bills as they currently stand and for updates as they occur.

    Your help is greatly appreciated. 

    Regards,

    Al Lund

    Allied Charities of Minnesota

  • 10 Mar 2015 15:31 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    This is under the heading of what contacting your elected officials can mean.  Yesterday in the Senate State and Local Government committee the 50% Gambling Control Board monthly fee increase to licensed gaming charities was discussed.  Senator Chris Eaton (Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center) read a note from a constituent charity that talked about how the taxes and fees that they currently pay negatively impacts their ability to fund their mission work.  She then offered an amendment to eliminate the 50% increase and revert to the current fee.  The amendment did not pass, but it was very gratifying to have Senator Eaton stick up for us.  The fee increase still needs to be passed in the Senate and House Finance committees, so this issue is not a done deal. 


    After the committee hearing ACM met with Gambling Control Board Director Barrett to talk about the fee increase and to see if there is not room to come to an agreement on this issue.  No agreement was reached, but we are now talking and sharing ideas.  We would not be so adamant on this issue if we knew that our tax relief bill would pass with substantial relief, but there is no way to know that at this time. 


    ACM also met with Senator Scalze and Director Barrett yesterday to see if we could not come to a compromise on the GCB bill SF634/HF948.  ACM had issues with sections 1, 15 and 18.  As a result of that meeting we came to a compromise that we can all support.  Once the amendment reflecting those changes has been offered, we will be asking you to contact your legislators to support the bill.


    ACM policy bills SF229/HF374 (last years vetoed bill) are on the floor in both bodies and awaiting a vote.  We learned yesterday that the MN Lottery vendor partners (Linq3, Scientific Games and GTech) have added an additional lobbying firm in their efforts to stop the bill.  These vendor partners have combined sales of $5.9 billion dollars annually.  Combined they now have nine lobbyists working against our bill. 


    These companies do nothing for our local communities, they only take.  SF229/HF374 among many other improvements limits the MN Lottery to on line draw games (Powerball) and restricts their future Internet offerings of blackjack, poker, keno, dice games, craps, roulette or other games without getting legislative approval.  We cannot leave the MN Lottery or their vendor partners to their own devices; they have already shown that they have no regard for the will of the legislature.  You, your charity members and the people that benefit from your missions need to contact your elected officials and tell them that we need their support on this bill. 


    ACM tax bill SF1227/HF1176 is in the tax committee in both bodies.  There are no deadlines for tax bills as there is for policy bills.  We are in discussions with the tax chairs about the bills and what the next steps are.  We are getting a real sense that legislators are seeing what current tax policy is doing to the ability of a charity to do mission work in local communities.  We are also sharing with legislators the individual donations you’ve made in their district communities.  Again, keep contacting your elected officials with examples of what you are paying in taxes compared to what you are able to give to needs in your local communities.  It is making a difference.  

  • 09 Mar 2015 07:48 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Gary Dawson of the Backus American Legion sent me what their charity does to keep their community and leaders informed of what they do for their community.  We all need to get better at shining a light on our good works.  Forward what you are doing and we will get it posted to the ACM website.  Thanks much.  

    BackusAmericanLegion2014 CharGamTable.pdf

    BackusAmericanLegion2014CharGamNewsRel.pdf


  • 06 Mar 2015 06:25 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Below is a copy of the house and senate file. Also below is a recap of the bill that you can use when talking to your legislators.  

    HF1519.1asamended.pdf

    2015HF1519.0.pdf

    2015SF1786.pdf

    2015policysfhf151903042015.pdf

  • 04 Mar 2015 07:30 | Allen Lund (Administrator)
    Members and Associates,

    Our Tax bill HF1176 (SF1227 in the senate) was passed out of the House Commerce committee to the  House Tax committee. Our bills are now in the Tax committee in both the House and Senate. No dates have been set for the hearings. As soon as we find out, we will share.  Please continue to contact your legislators and ask for their support.

    HF1185, the tax bill authored by Rep. Atkins was also passed on to taxes.  Rep. Atkins bill cuts the combined receipt tax rates in half.

  • 25 Feb 2015 06:23 | Allen Lund (Administrator)
    The bills listed below are not ACM initiated bills, but they all seek to help charitable gaming organizations in some fashion, which is certainly appreciated by us. Conventional theory is that the more bills in play, the better chance that something will get done.

    Go to http://www.leg.state.mn.us/ to get the details of the bill (need the number) and the current status of the bill.  

    HF133/SF535  Raises the audit ceiling to $1 million (sales) and removes the four day deposit rule for electronic gaming.

    HF296/SF94  Places electronic linked bingo in the traditional paper bingo tax rate of 8.5% for all gaming charities.  Lowers the combined receipt rate for paper pull tabs in a bingo hall.

    HF705/SF861 For charities who are congressionally chartered veteran organizations that own a post home. Reduces property taxes.

    HF1185/SF963 Reduces the combined receipt tax rates by 50%.

    Let your elected representatives know if you support these bills.
  • 24 Feb 2015 14:46 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Below is a recap of the bill that you could share when discussing the tax bill.

    2015taxproposal02232015.pdf

  • 23 Feb 2015 14:51 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    ACM Tax bill has a House file number.  See attached bill.  Contact your state representative to ask for their support of the bill.  

    2015taxlegislationHF1176.0.pdf

    2015taxlegislationSF1227.pdf


  • 23 Feb 2015 13:06 | Allen Lund (Administrator)
    Members and Associates,

    SF229/HF374 are now on the floor in both bodies.  This is the policy bill that was vetoed by the Governor last session.  While we do not know when it will be brought to a vote, we know that you contacting your state senator and representative is an important step in the process (perhaps the most important for us).

    SF188 is also on the senate floor although the companion house bill HF51 is still in committee in the house. This bill is the bill that has only the lottery restrictions on it, but is still important to our future. Please ask your senator and representative to support this as well.

    You can find out who represents you at http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/districtfinder.aspx

    In contacting your elected officials, tell them who you are, what charity you represent, why these bills are important to you and your charity and how you would appreciate their support when a vote is taken.  Let anyone else that is connected to your organizations also know about the bills and ask them to lend their support with contacts as well.

    Your support is very much appreciated and crucial to our success on these measures.

    Regards,

    Al Lund

  • 22 Feb 2015 12:10 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Members and Associates,                                                                                                                                                                                           02/20/2015

     

    Please see the attached information sheets from the Gambling Control Board.  Director Barrett presented these at the Gambling Control monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 17 and Wednesday, February 18 to the House State Government Finance Committee when he presented his case for the 50% increase in our regulatory fee.

     

    I have expressed my disappointment to Director Barrett in regards to these charts and that in my opinion he is clouding the issue of what we really pay in taxes by speaking of our tax liability as a percent of our overall dollar sales.  While it is true that we had $1.2 billion dollars in sales last fiscal year, we paid back $1 billion of that in the form of prizes to our patrons in our communities before our patrons ever left the establishment.  That means that the money that we actually got to bring to the bank, got to pay bills, taxes and missions with was just over $200 million. 

     

    One of my proudest accomplishments to date as executive director of Allied Charities is when ACM sat with the Minnesota Department of Revenue and came to an agreement that we could say that we paid an overall average tax rate of 20% in state tax.  MN DOR also committed to corroborate that number.

     

    Telling people that charities pay between 0% in taxes at the low end and 6.5% in taxes at the upper limit leads people not familiar with us to a false impression.  It feeds the belief that we are not managing our business in a fiscally responsible manner and that we are less than forthcoming in regards to our financial worth and missions.  It leads people to question why we don't actually pay more in taxes. 

     

    Telling people that we only pay 4.5 cents of every dollar that we touch towards missions is again misleading and gives people the impression that we are becoming wealthy at the expense of our patrons and our missions.

     

    The stark reality in our business is that on average it takes almost six dollars in sales ($5.78) to get one dollar to take to the bank to pay bills, taxes and contribute to missions.  Of that one dollar we take to the bank, we average 52 cents in expenses (rent, leases, games, payroll, etc.), we average 20 cents in taxes to the state of MN (more if you are paying federal and city taxes), which leaves us with at most 28 cents for missions.   

     

    Director Barrett has also stated that charities have $1.2 billion at our disposal for use as we see fit, that paying out prizes of 83% of what we take in is our choice, not a mandate.  It is totally true that we can manage our payout to a degree, but it is unclear as to what would happen to our business if we chose to lower our traditional prize payout and keep a larger share of the $1.2 billion.  We do, however, have another measure to look at. 

     

    The MN Lottery pays out 61.7% of their total sales of $531 million (per MN Lottery 2014 annual report) in the form of prizes.  If we went to their payout structure it would follow that our business would decrease by over 50% overnight.  That would not be in the best interest of either the state of Minnesota or Minnesota gaming charities. 

     

    The issue of our lack of support for the GCB monthly regulatory fee increase has also come up in conversation with the director and at the Board meeting.  We have not closed the door on a discussion of what kind of an increase is appropriate, in any, and have even offered to sit down with him and begin a discussion on this budget issue.  To date the director has not taken advantage of our offer other than to ask us to send him our ideas.      

     

    It was mentioned publicly at the GCB board meeting that if we do not agree to the 50% increase that we may be subject to being transferred to another arm of government for oversight.  I have been told that the Department of Public Safety or the MN State Lottery are two of the options available to Governor Dayton. This is not the first time we have heard this not so veiled threat. 

     

    As your representatives at the Legislature, ACM will not be influenced by a state agency to change our determination to represent the interests of charities first and foremost. 

     

    I urge you to contact your state senator and representative to let them know just how much you pay in taxes and how it affects your mission work in your community.  

     

    Legislators set tax policy for the state of Minnesota, not anyone else.  In the past ACM has asked the GCB to help us work towards tax relief for charities.  We were told time and time again that tax issues were not in the GCB's area of responsibility.  I am not clear as to what has changed, but it appears that it is now in their area of responsibility and they are weighing in against our interests.

     

    Bill Update:  Our policy house bill HF374 (last year’s vetoed bill) is on the floor.  The senate companion bill SF229 is up in the tax committee next Monday, February 23.  Our tax bill is ready and authors are signing on.  We should have bill numbers for that legislation next week. 

     

    Please make those legislative contacts.  You can find out who represents you at http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/districtfinder.aspx

     

    Thank you for helping us out at the capitol!!


    gcbcharts02202015.pdf

     

    Regards,

    Al Lund
    Executive Director
    Allied Charities Of Minnesota (ACM)
    3250 Rice St
    Saint Paul, MN 55126-3080
    Office #: 651-224-4533
    Fax #: 866-240-6160 

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